Search Results for: label/Match_3/index.html

Number of Results: 13

Review Rewind: Crazy Rings (Previously Riot Rings)

Crazy Rings by Cervo Media, released as Riot Rings, is a fantastic bubble popper. Using zoo animals as marbles, and including boss-like fights, along with the amount of polish, 3 Gameplay Modes and replay value enhanced by GameCenter support all make Crazy Rings one of the best Zumaesque titles on the iOS. Now, still a year later, Crazy Rings can be found on both my iPad and my iPod, and with the added Freeplay and Zen gameplay modes, chances are it’ll never leave my devices, and will be transferred over to every new device I happen to get. If you’re a fan of the genre, this is definitely one game you’ll want to make sure and check out. 
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.1
Riot Rings is a new Zuma-type bubble popper from Cervo Media GMBH. In it, you’ll match up groups of 3 or more different animal bubbles to clear out multiple rings thought over 100 levels and 3 different gameplay modes. Right off the bat, I want to say that Riot Rings is now my favorite Zuma type game, knocking The Temple Zumas out of the #1 spot. Cervo Media has taken the bubble popper game, and expanded it in a pretty original way. Instead of trying to clear out the bubbles before they get to the end point, you try and clear out the bubbles before the key on one end, and lock on the other end of the ring touch each other. To make it even more interesting, animals are flung into the rack from the outsides of the screen along with the animals that you fling into the rack from the middle of the screen.
The controls are pretty much like every other Zuma-type game out there, where you touch where you want your bubble to go. And like all other Zuma-type games out there, this is easier said that done. There’s various twists and turns in the rings that give you some pretty awkward angles to shoot at. 
Also, sometimes there’s inner and outer rings, causing you to sometimes wait for one ring to pass before you can hit an outer ring, or you will have a ring around your shooting area, with more rings on other parts of the screen, or even sometimes shake, constantly move, speed up, or shrink in completely, causing you to miss your target, or even worse, causing the key and lock to come together. There are, however, power-ups, which can help out big time. There’s a power-ups ranging from pieces of chicken that clear out big sections of the racks, to needles which can slow down the movement. These, put together with bosses, stones, and really so many different mechanics, that I can’t name or describe them all, makes Riot Rings easily one of the most interesting and fun Zuma-type games available in the AppStore.
The graphics are top notch, very polished, and retina display supported. The clouds hovering above some parts of the screen add a lot to the feel of the game, as do the great animal sounds. The controls are very tight and responsive, there’s GameCenter leaderboards, 3 star time-based rankings to try and snag, and re-playable levels along with Endless and Zen Modes to play after you’re done with the Campaign. 
Riot Rings is great for all ages, and even my wife has started to obsess over it, and there’s 3 available profiles so that multiple gamers can play on one device. I can not say one bad thing about this game. It’s done extremely well, adds a lot of gameplay mechanics to the tired Zuma-like gameplay, and you’re bound to see something new every time you play. For $0.99, it’s a steal. The iPad version is $2.99, which is still a great price for all the content and gameplay you’ll get out of this game. I really can not recommend it enough, even if bubble popping isn’t your thing, this game is sure to show you a great time, and give you tons of hours of entertainment.

**Note: Crazy Rings HD is available for free, and the XL version (iPad Build) is available for $0.99

Jewels With Buddies [Stofle Designs] – FREE

A couple of months ago, I wouldn’t have really called myself an online multiplayer fan. But with all of the great MP games being released lately, I’ve definitely been turned into one. Now, being a pretty big fan of Match-3 games, and with this new-found enjoyment of online gameplay, Stofle Designs Jewels with Buddies has wound up in my current rotation of games that I play every day. Battling it out against another player, trying to get the best combined score for 3 rounds of match-3 mayhem is a lot more fun than I thought it would be.
Once you register, or connect to your Facebook profile, you’re able to start games with friends from yoru contacts list, find a random buddy, have a rematch with someone you’ve already played, search for a username, or have a pass-n-play session with a friend on the same device. 
As you play, you’ll earn coins. These are used to pick power-up animals who are able to help you out throughout your game, and also to take spins on the slots. Each animal has a different ability, and is charged up by making certain types of matches while you play. For instance, the Panda Bear eats a whole row of gems and is charged up when you make white matches, while the Elephant destroys half of the board, and is recharged by matching purple gems, and so on. 

The scoring system is definitely a plus. With each match you make, you earn points, and if there’s a coin inside one of the gems, you’ll gain coins as well. But if you keep making matches quickly, the amount of points you’ll earn will keep rising. There are also multipliers randomly found on the gems which increase as time counts down. If you tap the gems with a multiplier before making a match with them, the multiplier will be applied to that match. 
You’re given 3 rounds, each being 60 seconds long, to earn as many points as you can. After each round, your score is sent to the other player, and then you wait for them to play a round and send it back. I haven’t ever had this much fun with a match-3 MP game. Witch Wars and Matching With Friends both seemed way too unbalanced, and pushed towards IAP, and Syntax Match, while decent, is a little too difficult when it comes to quickly finding matches because of the tiles used. Don’t get me wrong, there are IAPs included in Jewels with Friends, and if you want the best animal power-ups every time you play, you’ll probably need to purchase some coins, but with the coins earned at a decent rate, and being able to choose some of the better animals every 3 or so games, even without purchasing IAPs, it’s very well balanced, and doesn’t feel like you’re constantly being pushed towards the IAPs, which is becoming more and more rare with free games. 
So, if you’re looking for an online asynchronous match 3 title, you should definitely check out Jewels with Friends. Even though there’s no extra modes, and no single player gameplay, what is there is done very well, and priced at FREE, there’s really no reason not to give it a try. It’s definitely a title that’ll wind up staying on my device for quite some time. 

WarGames: WOPR [Be-Rad Entertainment] – $0.99

Match-3 games are almost as abundant as runners in the AppStore, which makes it hard to find titles within the genre that really stand out. Luckily, there are those few that do. Be-Rad’s latest release, WarGames: WOPR is definitely a title that stands out above the rest. Officially licensed, WarGames centers around the 1980’s Movie by the same name, with you taking control of the WOPR computer.
WarGames: WOPR only has one mode; the Campaign. It takes you through the story of WarGames from the computer’s perspective. You’ll go up against each of the movie’s characters, gaining special powers, and pieces of the launch code. 
WarGames is played by connecting groups of 3 or more symbols in order to use that action. On the board are missiles, satellites, + and $ symbols. The missiles attack your opponent, satellites go towards filling up a percentage which, when it hits 100%, gives you a special option, usually giving you health, an extra attack, or placement of power-ups on the board. The “+” symbols regenerate health, and the “$” symbols give you money, which you need in order to use your power-ups which you’ll gain as you progress throughout the game.
As you complete stages, you’ll earn RAM. This RAM is used to purchase and upgrade Tactics, or usable power-ups, which you can use in-game with the money you gain while playing, and Mods, which are permanent bonuses like gaining money with each turn, spawn a powerup tile when clearing chains of 12 or more, gain money instead of health when health is already at 100%, things of this nature. You are able to buy more RAM through the IAP, but it isn’t required to complete the game, and is mainly there if you want a super-powered up computer, or just feel like donating some money to the developers. 
The graphics are a simple, retro inspired, minimal style, and the animations fit very well within that fashion. However, the music is more modern, but accompanies the style of the game perfectly. The User Interface is clean, simple and responsive, and with no time limits, you’re able to thoroughly think through your moves, which, like most other match-3 games, does involve some strategy. 
WarGames: WOPR is Universal and priced at $0.99. It is supported with GameCenter, having a leaderboard for most Nukes, along with 8 Achievements. It’s also got iCloud support, which is fantastic, considering some of the levels are incredibly challenging, and sharing the saved data between devices is a real time saver. As far as Match-3 games go for the iOS, WarGames is definitely one of the best. If you’re a fan of the genre, it’s one title you should check out.

Blocks Hurt! (Luca Giusti) – $1.99

With the insane amount of games released every week in the AppStore, it’s not too surprising that a few great ones get overlooked every now and again. December of last year was a crazy time for the AppStore, with the onslaught of sales along with all the developers trying to get their apps in before the week off that the AppStore would take, not allowing any updates or releases. Well, during this time, Luca Giusti happened to release a little game called Blocks Hurt! Just now finding out about the game, even after a couple sales and freebie give-aways, I’m kicking myself for not finding out about it sooner. 
Blocks Hurt! has you going up against various monsters that are coming after you. Your job is to stop them (surprise surprise!). But how you do it is what really makes this game stand out. You’re given a chain at the top of the screen which will carry blocks from the left to the right. Tapping on them results in them dropping straight down. You’re also able to tilt your iDevice to the left to slow down the chain, offering more precise block drops. 
Hitting enemies will injure them, but usually require more than one block to kill them. There are also special blocks, some giving you a special power-up, while others are attack blocks, and either blow up, shoot out projectiles, fling fire balls, ect. Getting power-up blocks really comes in handy, but in order to use the power-up, you need to fill up your power gauge, which is done by killing enemies, so you’ll need to make sure that you don’t just waste your power-ups on small groups of enemies. 
There’s only one game mode, but each level has a different objective. Surviving a certain amount of time, building a certain structure, or matching a certain number of blocks. There are also boss battles at the end of the 3 separate worlds, with 30 stages each, for a total of 90 levels. Each stage has a 5 star rating, and once you get past the first couple of levels, the challenge immediately starts to show itself. However, it’s not difficult in a frustrating way. There’s always a decent amount of time to complete the objectives, and every time you don’t 5 star a level will be because of your own screw-ups. But with tight controls, and the game always giving you exactly what you need in order to complete the objective at hand, it always winds up giving you more drive to complete a level perfectly if you don’t’ get it right the first couple times around. 
Blocks Hurt! is supported by GameCenter, and has 4 different leader boards, one for each world, and a total score board, along with 36 hard to unlock achievements. That, coupled with the 90 levels offers up tons of replayability and tons of challenge. The game is so wacky and fun, it’s feels like a weird brother of Riverman’s Pizza Vs. Skeletons. Priced at $1.99, it’s a fantastic buy. The developer is also extremely supportive. In an AppStore full of developers who either pull their games and re-release them or throw ads into their paid games when they don’t sell as good as they were hoping, or even just abandon their games all-together, Luca Giusti has stuck with it, which is extremely rare, and commendable these days. An HD version is planned for release this summer, along with an Endless Survival Mode. If you’re looking for a hidden gem that offers up fantastic gameplay from a developer that deserves to be supported, Blocks Hurt! is definitely a game to check out. 

Pawn’d – 0.99 (Headlight Software, Inc.)

There’s no shortage of Match-3 games for the iDevice. Thankfully, there’s still developers that are creative enough to throw together a Match-3 title with elements that haven’t been done to death. Headlight Software happens to be one of those development teams, showing gamers that there’s still hope for new Match-3 games. Their release, Pawn’d, mixes elements from Chess with Match-3 gameplay, and it provides quite a bit of challenge and strategy.
Gameplay: 5/5
Pawn’d looks like your typical Match-3 game. At first, it looks like it might just be a Match-3 with a chess skin, but once you actually start playing, you notice right away that that’s not the case. You’re able to move the tiles like they move in chess. Your queen pieces can move in any direction, your rook can move left, right, up and down, bishop moves diagonally, and so on. With these movement restrictions, you’re job is to come up with matches of 3 or more of the same pieces.
Pawn’d has 4 different modes, each offering up a pretty significant difference in gameplay. Practice’d Mode has no time limit, and the goal is to come up with 15 matches for each of the pieces. 15 pawn matches, 15 knight matches, etc. You’re scored based on how many moves it took you to get all the matches, and how big your matches were.
Clock’d Mode gives you 30 seconds to make as many matches as you can, scoring you based on how big your matches are, and how many moves you can pull off in the time limit. Poison’d Mode gives you specific pieces which you need to match in a certain amount of moves. For instance, you always start off with a queen tile needing to be matched. In the corner of the tile, there’s a number, this is the number of moves you have to make a match with that piece, or else the game is over. After you match the piece, another piece will need to be matched in a certain amount of moves, with the amount of moves slowly dropping, based on how many moves it took you to match your last piece, until a piece’s counter drops down to zero. There is no time limit with Poison’d Mode, so you’re able to really think everything through.
The last mode is Pawn’d Mode. This mode is a bit more complicated, and requires quite a bit of strategy and thought to score big. You’re given 8 pawns, and once you run out of them, it’s game over. Now, you’re not able to use these pawns, they’re kept track of up in the top right corner. But you’ll loose a pawn if you make a match and it’s only a 3 tile match. The only way you will keep a pawn, is if you make a move, and it’s either a 4 or more tiled match, it causes a cascade of matches, or your move results in two 3 tile matches (like switching a rook and a knight, and having both pieces complete a 3 tile match).
Something that adds even more to the strategy of the game, is that you MUST create a match with the piece that you’re moving. You can’t move a piece, and have the piece that was swapped out of place result in a match, it won’t count. Another mechanic that adds to the strategy is that the pawns switch directions with each turn, meaning that when you begin a game, you can only move pawns up, and with your second turn, you can only move them down.
Graphics: 3/5
Now, most gamers know that graphics are not what makes a game great, though there are certain games that benefit from the additional work put into the environment, atmospheres, and all the graphical design, great graphics are not required to make a great game. Pawn’d’s graphics aren’t really anything to write home about, but they work. The animations are smooth, and the explosions for getting a 5 tile match look great. Games like Call of Atlantis, Xenocube, 7 Wonders, and others, have shown that very polished and expressive graphic design fits in very well with Match-3 games, but Pawn’d shows that super detailed pieces, backgrounds, and environments are in no way needed to make a great Match-3 game.
Replayability: 5/5
As with other Match-3 games, the replay value of Pawn’d is pretty high, and even more-so once you factor in the GameCenter support with 19 achievements and 8 leaderboards. The drive to better your score, and build on or shrink the amount of moves is definitely there, and will keep you coming back to the game again and again.
Overall: 4/5
In a genre that’s been done to death in the AppStore, Pawn’d shows that there’s still room for creativity and expansion. However, how much you like the game will be pretty much directly influenced by how much you enjoy chess, and understand the game. The amount of strategy needed to score big, and compete on the leaderboards might wind up being a big turn-off for a lot of people, especially casual gamers. But if you’re looking for something new in the Match-3 genre, and are a fan of chess, Pawn’d is definitely a game that you need to check out. The assortment of Modes is great, so are the leaderboards, and general drive to better your scores and moves. Pawn’d is Universal, and Headlight Software is very supportive and active in the Touch Arcade Thread. It’s regularly priced at $0.99, but you can pick it up now for the low-low price of FREE. It’s definitely a game you should check out if you’re even slightly interested in seeing how a chess/Match-3 match-up would work out if developed properly.
**Right now, Pawn’d is on sale, and you can download it for FREE**

‘Puzzlejuice’ Review

What do you take when you take Tetris and Boggle, and then
you mash them together into one game?
You get Puzzlejuice. Makes me wonder where the “juice” part
came from, doesn’t it?
Anyways, Puzzlejuice is a mixture of Tetris, match-3, and
Boggle into one entirely new type of game, and you’ll be surprised at exactly
how well that delivers.


When you first begin a game, you’ve got an empty screen. As
Tetris pieces fall, it’s your job to rotate and position the pieces to obtain a
full line of blocks horizontally. You’re able to tap to rotate, drag to
position left and right, and flick to hard drop. However, instead of being able
to clear line, that line turns into a line of letters, which then can be
cleared by creating words by connecting letters in all 8 directions. If the
word is long enough, you’ll also destroy any adjacent blocks. In addition to
this, each individual block has a color. By tapping a group of 3 blocks with
matching colors, you’re able to turn those blocks into letters also. Most of
these mechanics work extremely well. There are a few times where you’ll drag
and misspell a word, or accidentally rotate a piece you didn’t want to, but for
the most part, the game’s controls work without too much flaw. I do wish there
was an option to rotate your piece both ways; hopefully this gets implemented
in the future.
Also, there are unlockable powerups for you to us once you
complete certain achievements. These powerups are extremely helpful in getting
you out of a jam or aiding you to score more points. But the icing on the cake
is the combo system; there’s a clear timer that indicates when your combo will
revert back to x0, and whenever you spell a word, tap a match-3, or create a
new line, your combo’s timer resets. This combo system is what keeps the game
more than just any leisure game, because it makes Puzzlejuice a thrilling game
that keep you on your toes.

I’ve never been more impressed with how Puzzlejuice presents
itself. From odd names for modes to calling the “exit” button “rage quit”,
Puzzlejuice separates itself from other games by giving itself a punchy personality.
In addition, everything is in the menu extremely easy to navigate as well as
being two different difficulties, Hard Mode (which is actually easy) and Euro Extreme
Mode (which is the standard mode) making this game simple for anybody to access.

Clean. Fresh. Those are the words that come to my mind when
I think of Puzzlejuice’s art style. Everything is crystal clear and is animated
to near perfection. There have been a few instances of slow-down during the
game, this has only occurred at the beginning for me, and thus has not posed
any major issue.

Puzzlejuice’s soundtrack is creative and relaxing; it fits
perfectly with its personality and art style and the sound design lets your
satisfaction known when those words are clear or that bomb explodes. Straight
up: It’s good.

Puzzlejuice offers two main modes: Core Mode (standard gameplay) the Zen Mode, which really isn’t Zen at all. It’s the quickplay mode, as
you’ve got 90 seconds to score as many points as possible. If you consider the
addictive gameplay, then tack on the flexibility to play Puzzlejuice for any
extended period of time, or a quick 90 second session, I see no reason why this
game will not last.

Puzzlejuice is a delicious melting pot of classic puzzle
games. With its strong gameplay and personality, I see no reason why anybody
would pass upon this game. There are a few nitpicks that keep it from receiving
a perfect score, but I’ll let you know that it was extremely close to receiving one.
Nonetheless, there’s no reason not to purchase this fantastic puzzler.
Gameplay: 4.5/5
Presentation: 5/5
Graphics: 4/5
Sound: 4/5
Replay: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

W.E.L.D.E.R. – 1.99 (Ayopa/Highline Games)

As stated in our review of Chicken Rescue, Ayopa Games recently released two published games last week. The Scrabble meets Tetris type of word game, W.E.L.D.E.R., developed by Highline Games, would be their other title. This world-game has already reached #1 for iPad, is the iTunes game of the week, and is pretty high in the iPod charts, along with sporting a pretty nice trailer, so we figured we’d see what all the fuss was about, and give it a try.

The basis of the game is pretty simple. Swap around tiled letters to make words consisting of 4 or more letters, removing them from the screen, gaining points, while using the fewest amount of moves. The letters are scored depending on their color, with 1 point for lightly colored tiles, 2 for medium, 4 for dark, 8 for red, and then bonus tiles which multiply your score, or give you 10 or 20 points. There’s also wooden tiles which you can double tap and make any letter you like, but they give 0 points, and remove a swap from your available swap amount (which starts off at 25). Your final word score is totaled as the total of all the tiles, multiplied by the word’s length, and then additions or multipliers of the bonuses. There is no time limit, so you’re able to take your time and really come up with the best words you can. After you come up with a certain amount of words, you’ll move on to the next level. For instance, to beat level 1, you need to make 20 words. At the end of the level, the amount of swaps you have is multiplied by 25, and that’s given to you as an end of level bonus score. Sound confusing? It’s not really. Pretty much just make as many words as you can with the fewest amount of letter swaps, and you’ll score big. But as you level up, you’re given additional kinds of swaps. Level 2 gives you 2 reverse swaps, which lets you make words in reverse, draw a line through them, and double tap the word to flip it around so that the word will be counted. More nifty little swap tricks are added as you go up in level.
Now, I won’t lie. I find almost all word games pretty boring. The only reason I played Scrabble with my family when I was younger was because I liked keeping score and doing all the math. The scoring system in W.E.L.D.E.R. is a very nice addition, but it’s all worked out by the game, so it really comes down to making big words. And the game is actually really enjoyable. The addition of the falling tiles that can cascade down to make more words adds an extra bit of match-3 type strategy to the mix, and figuring out how to get a high scoring tile down to make a word without using a lot of swaps by making words under that tile, and having it fall down to where you need it feels great when you get it just right.
The addition of GameCenter leader boards for highest score, total points scored, total words, total palindromes (words the same forward as reversed – level, radar…), and biggest word score, along with 47 achievements which will take quite a while to fetch, add quite a bit of challenge and replay value. The graphics, animations, and sounds don’t really mean much in a game like W.E.L.D.E.R., but they are very professional, and fleshed out. The movement of the tiles is smooth, the look of the game is great, and the sounds fit it to a T.
Some players might want to be able to make words diagonally, or in reverse/upside-down, instead of left to right and up to down, but the way swaps are added later in the game, and the different mechanics that you’re given to do as you level up adds so much more to it than making words in any direction ever could. $1.99 (sale price, W.E.L.D.E.R. will go up to $3.99 soon) is a fantastic price for the amount of gameplay you’ll get out of W.E.L.D.E.R.. Highline Games has made an amazing word game, even for people who really don’t like word games have a chance of getting hooked fairly quickly, and Ayopa Games has done a great job seeing the potential in the title, and publishing it. Hopefully we’ll see more great games from both from developer and publisher in the future, because W.E.L.D.E.R. carries with it a lot of future potential. Just giving it a try might end up changing your perception of word games.
W.E.L.D.E.R. gets a score of 5 out of 5.

Blowup!! – 0.99 (Cravemob)

Developers have been trying to integrate music into their games since the birth of the AppStore. Not many have been able to successfully do this, but those that have found a way generally provide a very entertaining gameplay experience. Cravemob’s latest title, Blowup!!, a puzzle game based on match-3 type gameplay and integrating music, is a very good example of how to add music to gameplay smoothly and professionally.

You’ll start off with a screen full of mixed up different colored blocks. These blocks can be removed from the play area by double tapping on them. You’ll have a certain number of “Nibble” taps, which let you remove one single block, while removing groups of 13 or more adds to your number of Nibbles. If you remove a grouping of 8 or more, you’ll add energy to your energy bar, adding time to your gameplay. Once your energy bar runs out, it’ll be game over. Where does the music come in to this, you ask? Well, as you remove the groups of blocks from the gameplay area, you’ll be able to level up. Each time you level up, a section of music is added to the track playing, which also makes it so that you’ll earn more points with each group of blocks you remove, adds more energy to your energy bar when you do remove them, and causes your energy bar to drain quicker. The amount of music you have added to the song playing is shown at the top of the screen with a percentage. Once you hit 100%, you’ll be hearing the full music track. Sounds complicated? It kind of is. But all you really need to know is, pick a color to not remove from the blocks, try and remove every color but that one color, while groups of 8 or more blocks will be given robot faces so that you can tell them apart from the other blocks, and watch your energy bar, not letting it go too low unless you have a huge group of blocks you can remove from the gameplay area to fill it up again.
There are 3 different difficulties, Nerd Punk, which is Easy, Robo Crunk, which is Normal, and Megachip Rave, which is Hard. The increases in difficulty change how quickly your energy bar drains and how much energy you get from removed blocks. There are objectives shown on the Stats screen, which are really the GameCenter Achievements, with 26 total.
The minimal integration of music into the gameplay is pretty much the best way to mix music into games that are not tap based Guitar Hero type titles. Have the gameplay revolve around the music too much, and your game suffers, and generally, will get a lot of “the music has no effect on the actual gameplay” comments and reviews, and it’ll usually be the same with games that don’t have the music integrated enough into the gameplay, for instance, WAVE Against Every Beat’s Free Play Mode, which a lot of people thought would have the gameplay go with their own music, when in actuality, it was just a gimmicky promotion of “listen to your own music while playing the game”.
Cravemob has done an extremely good job of meshing music with gameplay, and having it be more than just a gimmick to sell more copies. The matching gameplay is great for casual and hardcore players, and can be very addicting, with the difficulty going up as your skill level rises. At $0.99, it provides smooth, entertaining gameplay with a high replay value. Different Modes would have added quite a bit to the game, but as it is, it’s still very much worth checking out, and as Cravemob’s first iOS game, it’s definitely a title that will catch the attention of gamers, and hopefully provide a solid fan-base of players eagerly awaiting to see what these talented developers will come up with next.
Blowup!! gets a score of 4 out of 5.

Tiny Token Empires – 0.99 (Bulkypix)

Bulkypix has become one of the bigger iOS developers/publishers over the last couple years or so, putting out numerous popular games, loads of which have hit Apple’s New & Noteworthy list. I only bring this up because it all makes their latest release, Tiny Token Empires, for the iPhone, a bit of a mystery.

First off, the iPad version of Tiny Token Empires is $8.99, and the iPhone version is $0.99. This should be a big clue that there’s going to be quite a bit of the game left out of the iPhone version, and sadly, it’s there, but only available through IAPs. To get the full Tiny Token Empires iPhone game, a total of $7.92 (+tax) will need to be spent. Now, I’m all for premium pricing in the AppStore, but generally, only when a developer comes out with a premium game that deserves that premium price.
In the AppStore description, it says that Tiny Token Empires includes 5 campaigns, one per nation for over 15 hours of gaming, 5 nations, 5 heroes, 25 generals, and 50 kinds of units, including 5 kinds of puzzles, with 3 difficulty levels, and 4 other games modes, including solo and multi. So most customers will go into the purchase thinking, “wow, that’s quite a bit of gameplay for my $0.99!”, and it really seems like that is what Bulkypix is counting on. There is no mention of IAPs in the description, and nowhere does it say what you get for your $0.99. Here is what the dollar game consists of.
You’ll get OpenFeint support, the Roman campaign, which contains 4 missions, a Free Mission mode where you can either play as the Romans or Egyptians, in one of 5 different missions, choosing one of 3 difficulties, and a Quick Battle mode, which lets you play a randomized match-3 game against another empire, and that OpenFeint support; you‘ll have access to one leader board. Now, this doesn’t sound too bad for $0.99, except that this is everything that’s included in their PC demo. So with that in mind, and after playing the game for an hour, you’ll feel more like you’ve paid $0.99 for a lite version of the game.
However, the game is decent. You’ll start off with a town, build it up with defenses, an army, and more buildings, earning money with each turn, which enables you to build more of your town up. You’ll take your army, and move it from one section on the map to another, expanding your empire, and having a match-3 battle whenever you come across a territory that is already occupied by another ruler or civilization. The first 4 Roman campaign missions that you are given feel more like a tutorial though, with a “wise elder” telling you what you need to do to get through each mission, and then letting you half-way do the last mission on your own. Once you complete that, you’re done with the main game. You are given partial access to the free mission mode, and can play a randomized match-3 battle, but as for the main meat of the game. Done. In the game’s description is also says that there is a “multi” mode, but it’s not found anywhere in the game.
It’s almost impossible not to compare Tiny Token Empires to Puzzle Quest, because they are the two big match-3 adventure turn-based RPG type games in the AppStore. Puzzle Quest, with 3 chapters, with the first chapter being free, and 2 and 3 being $0.99 each, with over 40 hours of very impressive quest filled turn-based match-3 gameplay, and Tiny Token Empires, a little under $8, 15 hours of not so quest filled turn-based match-3 gameplay, with a demo/lite verison that costs $0.99.
I don’t want to say that Tiny Token Empires is a bad game, because it’s not. It’s put together extremely well, has nice graphics, and decent music. It’s user interface is a little clunky, but not so much that it gets in the way of the game. It does have some smoother looking animations sequences than Puzzle Quest, and it has free mission and random battle modes to go along with the campaign. I don’t think the game feels like a premium priced game though. A lot of gamers do not like the “pay-as-you-go” pricing model, and here, Bulkypix is charging iPod gamers for what they’re giving away to PC gamers. It doesn’t rub players the right way, and I have no idea how Bulkypix is going to come out of this one on top.

QuBIT Gets a Major Update and Goes Free!

QuBIT, a crystal smashing, color matching racer from Secret Sauce Studios, just got it’s 1.2.0 update, and it’s a big one! This debut release from the UK company caught my attention the moment I saw the release trailer. I ended up staying up the night of it’s release to check it out, and even ended up updating my iPod from iOS 4.0 to iOS 4.3, which I previously swore I would never do for any game. But boy was I so happy that I finally did.

QuBIT turned out to be one of the best and most original racing games I had ever experienced. Everything from the graphics to the gameplay, scoring to the matching, down to the racing, I was completely hooked, and found it hard to play anything else for the first two weeks I had the game on my device. Then the obsession faded, like it does, until last Friday, the 16th, when Secret Sauce released it’s version 1.2.0 update, and the love affair was re-kindled.
Here’s a list of the new features;
–Retina Display Support
–New game mode, Surge
–2 new QuBOTs, QuBYT, and QuTI
–Solid Gold Plated Bot for those who bought the game before it went free back in July

and of course
–QuBIT is now FREE, with the new Surge Mode, and two new characters available through IAP.
Secret Sauce’s decision to make the previously $0.99 app, free, was not one that was taken lightly. Within the first week of the release, 50% of the activity on the leaderboards was from pirated copies. Cracked software has, is, and will always, be a problem for game developers, but it’s especially sad when it happens to such a great game made by such a great development team. With every issue brought up on the Touch Arcade and Secret Sauce Forums, the team has been there to swiftly and quickly address the issue, sending out a fix as soon as possible, and listening to what the gamers had to say.
So here’s hoping that the change to go free does help fight the onslaught of cracked copies, and those of you who bought QuBIT before it went free back in July, or even after it went free, only to see the part of the game that you paid for go free, will be glad to know that your money went back into the development of the game, and the in app purchase of the new Surge Mode, new characters, and unlockables, along with the Retina Display addition, is well worth another $0.99. Especially when coming from such a dedicated developer, who’s sure to put that money back into amazing, mind-bending games for it’s fans, and new-customers.
Be sure and check out QuBIT, now that’s free, you’ve got nothing to loose, except of course, for a buck that you’ll most likely end up spending on the Surge Mode once you get hooked on the Classic Mode that’s, to say the least, VERY addicting. We here at The App Shack wish Secret Sauce the best of luck with this new pricing set-up, and with the game, as it’s one of our favorites.
You can also check out the Secret Sauce team’s blog/forum/webpage at